Nothing like a little mouth to mouth to get you breathing deep
Forced induction. These two words together can make a grown man salivate in a way that not many other things can. What this term refers to, in relation to the function of the automobile, is any device or method that forces more air into the intake of an engine. Forcing more air into the engine means that more fuel can be burned when needed, and more power can be produced by the engine when needed.
Many people think that the force that causes the air to flow into the engine is the suction created by the piston moving down in the cylinder with the intake valve open. This is not true. The piston moving down only creates a vacuum, which is an area of negative pressure. Once this void is created something will rush in to fill it, and that something is air. The motivation for the air is atmospheric pressure. This is one of the reasons that the average car or truck will produce more power at low elevation versus high elevation.
In the past, any vehicle with a forced induction system was considered high performance, or at least higher performance then the equivalent vehicle in a naturally aspirated form. A forced induction system fitted to an engine that could already be considered high performance makes for a real screamer. Top Fuel dragsters have massive superchargers breathing air into massive engines. These cars can run a quarter of a mile in about 4 seconds. A tremendous amount of air is forced into the engine in order to burn a tremendous amount of fuel. In the real world we only need lots of power for brief moments here and there. Like when we are getting on the freeway, passing a slower vehicle on a two lane road, or when we are trying to beat another car to a prime parking spot at the mall. The rest of the time we only need a small amount of power to get around.
With all of the talk about new automotive technologies that are very advanced and becoming more widely available, the one that does not get as much attention is the new turbocharged engines, and the high levels of efficiency that they obtain. They probably don’t get a lot of attention because the technology is really not that new. This instance just sees the technology applied in a slightly different way. With the proper application of a turbocharger, an engine’s output and efficiency can be raised enough to make the engine seem like something much bigger than it really is. 4 cylinder engines can easily have the power of a V6 and a V6 can have the power of a V8. This can happen without sacrificing fuel economy because small displacement engines are used, with variable geometry turbos, and the only time the engine needs to put out big power is under heavy load. The rest of the time that the engine is running, the smaller size helps it get better fuel economy.
|2011 Ford Taurus|
With the current spike in gas prices sales of SUVs and big trucks are down, and the sales of smaller more fuel efficient vehicles are up. The Ecoboost F150 is selling much better than Ford expected. This is a big truck that usually appeals to people who would never buy anything with fewer than 8 cylinders. When the cost to fill your tank goes through the roof, you change the way you think, and then suddenly a V6 powered pickup truck doesn’t seem so bad. Not only does it not seem bad, in all reality it isn’t.